Let me start by saying that we absolutely do not have a zero-waste household, nor would I classify our home entirely as an eco-friendly household. We don’t live in an earth ship, we don’t have solar panels, and we still produce a fair amount of garbage.
BUT, I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made the past half a year to live more consciously! This includes sending a lot less to landfill, changing how we eat, how we shop, and what we buy. I’m pleased to tell you that not only are we sleeping better from eating more wholesome foods, but also from knowing we’re trying to be more sustainable. I’ve also lost weight and my IBS is much better managed. Win win!
You can read the other posts in the series via these links:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links
I’d also like to stress that being able to change our lifestyle is a privilege. We have the money and the time to implement more eco-friendly options in our household. I wouldn’t have had the time nor the financial means to do these things at my last job, so my current employer truly has changed my life for the better. In this series, the items and switches I recommend are just that, recommendations! It’s most important to do what works for you.
Now, on to the changes we’ve made to make our home more eco-friendly!
I’ve already spoken about these in my Autumn Favourites post. You use these the same way you’d use cling film. They come in beeswax and vegan-friendly varieties and they’re incredibly durable. You can get them on Etsy or at local farm shops/markets, or look at Pinterest for DIY inspiration. I wrap ends of produce like a cucumber or lemon, and I wrap up my energy balls for a commute snack.
Silicone Freezer Bags
I freeze lots of stuff, from chicken breasts, to leftovers, to stock. Silicone freezer bags are washable and reusable and I’ve been really happy with how few plastic freezer bags I’ve had to use the past few months. I got a set of 4 on Amazon(affiliate link).
Cloth Snack Bags
These lined cloth zip up bags from Etsy are incredibly handy for taking rice cakes to work, or you could put a sandwich in them, nuts, crackers etc. You could also use them for small children’s toys or makeup. They are washing machine friendly!
Cloth Dish Sponges
These sponges were some of the first eco-friendly items I purchased. I was sick of buying disposable sponges so this was an easy switch. They’re machine washable and you can cut them up and compost them! I got mine from an online zero waste shop but you can get them on Etsy or make them yourself.
My other absolute favourite is my Swedish cellulose dish cloth. It’s amazing! I’ve seen these in boutique shops, on Amazon, and Not on the Highstreet.
A note on washing up: please consider filling up the bucket rather than rinse washing! If you’re looking to buy a dish washer, pick one with a good energy rating and water saving function.
I bought these cloths on Etsy a while back to use as an alternative to paper towel, both for wiping hands and cleaning. They’re beautiful and wash really well.
SESI refillable detergents
One of the best things about shopping at our new bulk store (The Market Garden) is that they stock refillable detergents and cleaning products that are produced by a company in Oxford. We’ve been extremely happy with both the cost and efficacy of their laundry detergent, dish soap, and multi purpose cleaner. I was also able to buy 1.5 litres of cleaning vinegar for 50p!
Buying in Bulk
Thankfully, a bulk store opened near us — hooray! We now go to stock up on things like porridge oats, pulses, grains, and pasta. I’m not going to lie, by my calculation some items are 4x as expensive as buying budget ranges from the grocery store, and their dried fruit and nuts are astronomically priced. However, they’re organic and sustainably sourced, and are package free.
I shop within my means and buy what I can afford in terms of organic bulk food — it’s a much more pleasurable experience to quietly fill your cotton bag with split peas while Enya plays in the background than to endure grocery cart bumper cars in the aisles of Sainsbury’s.
Buying dried and buying loose
This is pretty simple. Buying dried food (beans etc.) and cooking them yourself is very cheap and you can control how much sugar and salt is added. I buy in the biggest package possible and opt for recyclable packaging when I can. We also buy loose produce as much as possible.
Avoid convenience food
This includes portioned food in packaging and junkfood. It’s amazing how little you can buy if you’re avoiding packaging, and the better choices you make! For example, I no longer buy: granola bars, individual packets of crisps or rice cakes, mini yogurt and humus pots, stir fry sauces, and individually wrapped chocolates. We don’t buy orange juice anymore, and we’ve cut down the amount of squash juice we consume.
This means I do 99% of our cooking (breakfast, lunch, dinner) from scratch. I also do a lot of baking. Our convenience food is still very much based around snacks like biscuits, chocolate, and crisps. Not only have we reduced the amount of packaging we bring home, but we’ve saved a lot of money!
Eat less meat and dairy
I’m lactose intolerant so I shouldn’t be eating dairy anyways. We buy 1 bottle of lactose free milk and one bottle of nut milk each week. We still have cheese in the house, but I tend to stick mostly to lactose free.
As for meat, we were never heavy meat eaters anyways, but I do love chicken and bacon. I’ve made the conscious decision to reduce our meat meals from 2-3x per week to 1. Meat is a treat.
Lucy bought LED lightbulbs the other day. They have a much better energy rating than the old one that burnt out.
We made it almost to November without turning the heat on! I’ve also reduced the number of baths I have from at least on a week to one every other week. I take shorter showers as well (or use the buddy system 🙂 )
I hope you’ve found this post inspiring or at least interesting. As always, I encourage you to leave comments about the changes you’re making to live more sustainably!
As an update to this post, in our new house we use renewable energy through Bulb. Referral code: If you’re in the UK and want to use Bulb, my referral code will get you £50 off! www.bulb.me/katherinea7018